Driverless cars will hit UK roadways within six months, putting the country at the forefront of the autonomous vehicle movement and opening up new opportunities for the local economy and society according to UK business secretary Vince Cable.
The country's Department of Transportation has launched a £10 million ($17 million) fund to spark interest and make sure everything is ready to go by January 2015. Three cities will be selected to host trials lasting between 18 and 36 months in which two different types of driving technology will be tested with the public's help.
In one test, automated vehicles will be tested with a qualified driver that can take over control of the car should the need arise. The other trial will involve fully autonomous vehicles without a human driver present.
Transport minister Claire Perry said driverless cars have huge potential to transform the UK's transport network. They could improve safety, reduce congestion and lower emissions. As such, they are determined to ensure driverless cars can fulfill this potential, Perry added.
The UK is no stranger to self-driving cars as they've been testing them on public roads since last year. The new program, however, marks the first time that citizens would get in on the action. Whether or not that's a good idea depends on who you ask.
Last month, an internal report from the FBI listed multiple situations where such vehicles could be used as "lethal weapons."